Three nights later Denice had dinner with a large, silver-haired woman wearing a saffron colored sari. The woman was gracious and very comfortable within herself.
“Hello Mz Delarosa. You may call me Tanvi.” The woman announced. “I recommend the mango-sweet potato curry.”
Denice sat down. “Thank-you for your time.” she said.
“I could hardly do otherwise. Two of the most respected members of the family approached me and ‘suggested’ it might be to our advantage to meet. That can hardly be a coincidence.”
“I was hoping for three.” Denice said. “I whispered into the ears of three people in the hospitality industry.”
Tanvi asked, “I heard how you whispered. Very persuasive. Do you mind telling me the three you talked to. I can guess but I want some confirmation about who is not passing information.”
Denice told her.
She shook her head. “Sai! Of course it was Sai. He wants the benefits without taking the risks. Someday he will be left behind and he will have nobody to blame but himself.”
“Enough of my family. How can I help you?” Tanvi asked.
Denice lowered her eyes. “I need guidance. I need wise counsel. I can make no guarantees that I will use your guidance because I am completely responsible for the outcomes. But I guarantee that I will give serious consideration to what you tell me.”
“That sounds easy.” Tanvi said. “Guidance on what?”
“I need to know what is holding business back. Why is it on its knees and not getting up? Hospitality is like the canary-in-the-coal mine. You can look at last Friday’s receipts and tell me how the economy is doing. It takes my advisors nine months to decide that the economy puked.” Denice said.
“Admirable” Tanvi said, “but I don’t see what is in it for you. Why are you doing this when none of your predecessors did?”
“You might have noticed that Bona-Brown’s top people become accident prone. Barbilla, the last person to have this job suffered a stroke while being debriefed. I have been lucky so far. Part of that luck was because I was able to surround myself with trusted people.” Denice said.
“I have noticed that people don’t foul their own nest. They go to motels to plan. They bring in muscle from out-of-town and where do they put them up for the night? Yep. Motels.” Denice said.
“I am not asking you to be spies. I just want you to make a considered business decision if information falls into your hands that might impact me. Ask yourself, ‘Who will treat me best, Denice or the next meat-head Bona-Brown wants to put here.’ That is all I ask.”
Tanvi said, “That is all very doable but the logistics of getting the information to you is, well, leaky. Even if we went along with this I cannot guarantee that we could get the information to you quickly enough to do you any good. I don’t suppose you have a plan for that, do you?”
“Well, actually I do.” Denice said with a smile. “I need trusted people around me. I propose that you find some bright young person, a family member, and that I hire him/her as one of my personal aides. Then you can pass as much information or as little information as you deem profitable.”
At 8:30 am the next Monday, Dilip Bhalsad was hired as Denice Delarosa’s second personal assistant. He took a leave-of-absence from his Master’s program at UCLA.